The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly three years. A total of 1.6 million jobs were gained in 2011.
Read the Labor Department’s December jobs report here.
While private employers added 212,000 jobs, the public sector cut 12,000 jobs, continuing the trend in government layoffs.
Manufacturing, health care, and education industries were all boosted in December, each adding more than 20,000 jobs. The construction industry, which has been hard hit by the recession, also picked up steam with another 17,000 workers hired.